Skip to main content

Make Process Improvement Results Visible: Play Eye Spy!

In a number of projects recently I have been playing a game of 'eye spy' to great effect. Can you remember that game from your childhood? You pick an object you can see and tell the other people playing what the object's first letter is. The person who guesses correctly first then gets to have a go.

Pretty simple game.

The approach I have used is to help my clients see whether a change has taken effect or not. For most business leaders they can use their KPIs as a gauge as to whether the change has taken effect. For the people who don't see the KPIs, but who are performing the new process, the eye spy game works rather effectively.

To use this approach you need to be clear on the cause (the new process / tasks) and the expected effect (the new result / behaviour).

The logic is that when the new process is embedded and working properly then you should be able to see the outcomes that you are looking for. There is sometimes a lag between the cause and the effect when it comes to business improvement projects. Having a practical way to relate the change can be really useful for the people involved and it makes the follow up meetings really practical.

So, rather than bogging people down with data (and guessing if the change has worked) you can choose to be more visual and look for the observable results. The trick is to translate the outcome you are hoping for into visible behaviours.

Over to you.


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…